Tier 1 (Post Study Work)

25th March 2011

In her statement to the House of Commons on Tuesday 22nd March 2011 the Home Secretary, Theresa May, stated that the Tier 1 (Post Study Work) route, which allows students two years to seek employment after their course has been closed.

The UK Border Agency has now clarified her comments and confirmed that this route will in fact remain open until April 2012. This means that students currently attending university with a view to graduating over the next twelve months can still plan to remain in the UK for a two year period and seek employment under Tier 1.

Given that most graduations occur over the summer months, it is unlikely that graduates in 2012 will be able to benefit from the Tier 1 (Post Study Work) option. This means that they will have to obtain sponsorship under Tier 2 (General) of the points based system if they wish to remain in the UK to work. However it is permissible to switch status from student to Tier 2 (General) and the Certificate of Sponsorship will therefore fall within the “unrestricted” category. However, all other aspects of the Tier 2 process will have to be followed, including resident labour market testing where applicable.

Students who obtain employment with an employer holding a Tier 2 sponsor licence, and who have been admitted onto a graduate programme, may be sponsored under Tier 2 (General) with the employer relying on a “milkround” graduate recruitment exercise in order to meet the resident labour market test.

Milkround advertising requires the sponsoring company to show that they have visited at least three universities from within the resident labour market and that the graduate programme has been advertised on two approved media, such as the company’s own website and a recognised recruitment website.

The UK Border Agency is also considering introducing a new entrepreneur route for innovative students who wish to remain in the UK to set up a business. The precise criteria for this route have not yet been determined however it is likely that the financial investment threshold will be lower for recent graduates than for those applying under the current Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) provisions.

For further information please contact us at: Immigration@magrath.co.uk or on 020 7495 3003